A 100-Person Space Station (1969)

Over the decades, many of Aviation Week’s scoops involved ambitious proposals that never came to be. Five months before Apollo 11 astronauts set foot on the Moon, NASA was already pursuing some grandiose plans for the post-Apollo era.  In a February 1969 article, space technology editor William J. Normyle revealed that officials for NASA’s manned space program were drawing up plans for a massive space station that could accommodate 100 astronauts and be used for both civil and military purposes.

Under the grand proposal, the station would be built in a modular fashion, starting in 1975 with completion in 1980. One challenge: waste management. “If three men in a spacecraft the size of Apollo can complain about poor waste management systems, NASA officials shudder at what could happen with a large space station,” Normyle dryly opined.  Alas, it would take another three decades before the much smaller -- but still large -- International Space Station would start to be assembled and begin operations.

Read Normyle’s original story from the Feb. 24, 1969 edition of Aviation Week.

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Aviation Week & Space Technology marked its centennial in 2016. Here, we highlight editorial content from the magazine's long and rich history.

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